The Government has announced details of a new immigration bill to be included in the Queen’s speech, which will propose a new criminal offence of illegal working that will allow police to seize the wages of anyone employed unlawfully see The Guardian .
It has been estimated that the backlog of people in Britain who have overstayed their visas and whose whereabouts are unknown is 300,000, but it is not known how many are working.
In my time working as a Barrister in immigration tribunals and hearing first hand accounts of migrants who had been working despite not having permission to do so, many ran the risk of working knowing that if they were caught their applications for further leave to remain would be more likely to be refused. If this doesn't work as a deterrent then why should a small prison sentence.
Furthermore, most sent all of their meagre illegal pay home to impoverished families and so it is highly likely that in the majority of cases there would be nothing to seize.